[c-nsp] Certification Ethics

Derick Winkworth dwinkworth at att.net
Mon May 11 20:52:34 EDT 2009

Keep in mind that the value of the CCIE isn't that you can recall an
infinite number of facts about bits, bytes, headers, protocol states,
protocol errors, protocol election rules, model numbers, product
specifications, and router commands, and the output of every router
command... at any given moment without context or warning.   If you came
up to me in the middle of the day out of nowhere and asked "Whats the
difference between PIMv1 and PIMv2 DR election?"  I would have to stop
and think.  I would probably tell you to go look it up.  Because that is
what I do when I don't know or can't remember.

Its not about how much useless information you can cram into your head. 
Its how you apply the facts once you have them.  These facts by
themselves are useless without a problem you can apply them too.  You
would be a bad engineer if you didn't verify anyway that it works the
way you expect it too...  Which means I would likely say "I'm not sure,
lets look it up."

I re-memorize what I need to know to recert every 21 months.  In between
those times, if I don't touch IPv6, then I probably will forget it very
fast.  I'm busy.  I have other things to remember and think about.

So hearing you say that some CCIE, or multiple CCIEs, didn't remember
fact "x" and therefore you call into question the value of the CCIE as a
certification... I guess that demonstrates how badly you are missing the

Derick Winkworth
CCIE #15672

Peter Rathlev wrote:
> On Mon, 2009-05-11 at 16:16 -0500, Chris T wrote: 
>> -Am I completely out of line here?  If so, please tell me how.
> I have heard about things not completely unlike what you describe. I
> have myself been very bored the two times I tried attending CLP courses
> so I don't do that anymore. It's a waste of time.
> I assume Cisco is only naturally interested in people attending the
> courses. From what I've heard they make more than a few pennies from
> selling licenses to approved material.
>> -What is an appropriate time to study for a single Cisco test (not
>> expert level)?  I understand there is a great amount of variance, but
>> ballpark figures are what?  100 hours? 500 hours?  1000 hours?
> Hm... I used a weekend of preparation for each of three of the exams for
> CCIP (BSCI, QOS and MPLS) reading through mostly Cisco Press material. I
> took the BGP exam without preparation, though I took O'Reilly's book on
> BGP with me to bed. Of the four exams the BSCI was the most challenging
> since it covered a lot of subjects, some of which I hadn't had any
> practical experience with, like IPv6.
> I'm always a little nervous at exams, but I've had no problems only
> using what I had learned by working with the technology.
>> -What practice test material do YOU think is or is not fair for
>> preparation for a Cisco certification test?
> Anything you can come by without breaking laws is fair. :-) If you've
> asked Cisco specifically about some learning partner and they didn't
> want to even consider looking at it, it's fair game.
> I personally don't think the certifications are worth very much in the
> first place. I've been having discussions with CCIEs that had
> misunderstood some of the most basic things (like MED being an
> intransitive attribute) and it didn't just happen once.
> If I were to judge someone in e.g. a hiring situation I would primarily
> look at what (s)he'd been working with and then use maybe half an hour
> assessing their technical merit. (I'm not in that position though, and
> that's probably for the best.)
> The certifications do open some doors though. Management is impressed
> and it gives leverage in many situations, like "trust me, I'm a
> professional" or when negotiating salaries.
> Regards,
> Peter
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